Abigail Dunagan, Campus Carrier arts and living editor
Lauren Davis, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor
On Sept 14, the Core Ensemble performed Tres Vidas at the Bell Recital Hall of Berry College. The Core Ensemble is a performance group based in South Florida that tours across the United States to perform music shows. Tres Vidas is one of their most popular shows. The performance tells the story of three historical Latin-American women: Frida Kahlo, Rufina Amaya and Alfonsina Storni. Actress Jenyvette Vega is an actress who performs and sings as the three women during the show. The ensemble also features music by Julia Henderson on the cello, Byron Burford-Phearse on the piano and Michael Parola on percussion.
Jennifer Corry is a professor of Spanish and faculty advisor for Sigma Delta Pi. She has invited the Core Ensemble to Berry over the past several years. Corry believes that the Core Ensemble’s range of performances is wonderful exposure to diversity and Latin American culture for Berry students. According to Corry, Tres Vidas is a performance that highlights the storytelling of 3 women through a unique theatrical experience. Corry states that she plans for the Core Ensemble to come each year to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month which is Sept 15 through Oct 15.
“I hope that students will enjoy themselves through relaxation, learn something new and be motivated to research Latin American history after the performance,” said Corry. “Music is universal, and it speaks to everyone.”
Junior Taya Mehrtens attended the Tres Vidas performance. Mehrtens feels that this performance helped her learn a lot more about Latin American women. She was not familiar with any of the songs prior to attending, but Mehrtens stated that she learned more about the strength and courage that these three women had.
“It was three different stories, so you got to see the different ways that the women were involved in their culture, and what that meant to them,” said Mehrtens.
According to Mehrtens, she felt that students could learn a lot from this performance. The actress and musicians of Core Ensemble are very theatrical, and Mehrtens stated that she enjoyed seeing how involved each of the performers were.
Freshman Victoria Andrade was only familiar with Frida Kahlo prior to attending the performance. Andrade enjoyed hearing the stories of the three women, and she felt that the performance was well done. According to Andrade, the performance could be helpful in allowing students to learn more about Latin American culture.
“I think that it is really important to help students submerse themselves into a culture that they might not have been able to experience before,” said Andrade. “It definitely goes into the trials and tribulations that anybody experiences, not just people in Latin American culture, but in other cultures as well. I think that this is something that could help bridge the gap between cultures.”
Before the performance began, students were handed brochures at the door containing all the historical information on each of the three women, and a timeline of the performances with each song named along with its original composer. Jenyvette Vega acted as the three women, with only a few minutes in between each act to change her costume. After the performance, the group allowed students the opportunity to ask questions. Vega was asked what her hardest quick change was. According to Vega, you have to be intentional about how you leave things back stage because that determines how long it will take you to change.
Several students asked the band about their instruments. Henderson said her cello is electric, and it must be plugged into an amp. This makes the cello easier to travel with. Phearse, the piano player, used a piano that was provided by Berry’s music department. Parola played 7 different types of percussion instruments, a keyboard with metal keys and a foot pedal, the marimba and a number of other instruments. Each of these percussion instruments creates different sound effects to go along with the acting and singing portion of the performance.
“I have experience with theater as a whole, but I have never sat through anything like this before,” said Andrade. “It was really cool, and I loved how Vega was very interactive with the crowd.”